Help, Help, Help....

Baking By MamaGeese Updated 9 Dec 2020 , 3:50pm by SandraSmiley

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MamaGeese Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 2:55am
post #1 of 11

I've been on here several times asking for help with these stupid air bubbles in my cake batter! I do not understand, I've used the same recipe for 30 yrs and they always came out perfectly.  Now I'm talking about my best SCRATCH recipe, I haven't changed brands of any ingredients, still using same Kitchen Aid with paddle, same creaming method. I have always used a scale and calabrate it often. In the last few months I'm getting these awful air bubbles, I  drop pan on counter, I run sharp knife through batter. I've tried pushing down on batter as it goes into pan,  I've done EVERY trick in the book and nothing seems to help. At this point I'm so desperate I may just quit making cakes at all. I hate all these ugly tunnels and holes in my finished cakes. For decades they looked beautiful when I cut them, with a nice tight crumb. I've googled and you tubed everything I can think of to no avail. If there is anyone out here in cake land that can help me, I would be so grateful.  Has something changed I don't know about? I expect holes in cake mix cakes, but not my tried and true scratch recipes....I'm at my wits end !

10 replies
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SandraSmiley Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 3:33am
post #2 of 11

I am sorry, MamaGeese, I don't have a clue.  I do not have the problem, even when I make doctored cake mixes.  Hopefully someone else will have some thoughts.

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-K8memphis Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 2:20pm
post #3 of 11

idk -- I'm sure you've already tried dropping the pan on the counter top several times from a height of several inches making a real bang that brings the air bubbles up then like you said, drawing  the knife through in narrow rows -- y'know  of course holding the knife upright and making sure it goes down to the bottom as far as possible --

that should do it, mg!!! 

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ReginaCoeliB Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 3:26pm
post #4 of 11

Hey MamaGeese, I support everything K8Memphis said about mechanical ways to get the bubbles out of the batter.

Sometimes, the problem is not mechanical, but chemical. Have you switched your baking powder brand?, or the one that you are using is old? How long was your flour sitting on the shelf, were your eggs from a young or old hen? Those tunnels you see are just trapped air. That trapped air may have mechanical causes, like big bubbles of air trapped during the mixing process. The advice of K8Memphis will help you get rid of those. Those mechanical bubbles are mainly due to overmixing. Why?, simple, when you overmix, you develop the gluten in you flour and that makes the batter thicker, hence, the big bubbles are not only trapped, but stabilized in the batter. 

The chemical process is different. You did everything perfect mixing your batter, your method, you mixer, your time, etc. But a chemical reaction (and there are hundreds! happening during baking) might cause those undesirable tunnels. If your flour has a slightly higher protein content, the starches are going to gelatinize before the baking powder acts properly, causing an accumulation of gasses in a particular area. What failed? in this case was your flour.... But I always use the same brand!, you say. But you flour is not exactly the same. every flour batch is composed of different providers, grown in different areas of the country, that are sometimes affected by drought, heavy rain, pollution, pests, etc. There is a range of composition, but it is never exactly the same. If your flour was fine, then your eggs might fail, sometimes the consistency and leavening power of egg depends of the age, and even how that poor hen was fed and kept, what breed of poultry, etc. I could keep going for hours on every possible thing that can go wrong.

My point here is that there are things in baking that are out of your hands. The quality of products the last few years have been seriously affected. The competition among prices and brands made and enormous damage in the quality of products. Baking might be cheaper these days, but is also riskier. Also the climate change and human interactions with the environment has a deep effect in the quality of products we get on the table. Not to count that the processes involved in the mass production of goods have been changed in order to make more for less.... who cares about quality?

My big advice... You are not doing anything wrong. DO NOT STOP BAKING! Do the best you can, and understand that there are many thing in baking and in life that we cannot control. Do not get discourage, put a big smile on your Mama face and keep baking!

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SandraSmiley Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 6:27pm
post #5 of 11

Boy, it is so nice having a scientist in our midst!  Thank you, ReginaCoeliB!  You mentioned several things I would never have considered or even know existed!

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theresaf Posted 4 Dec 2020 , 7:36pm
post #6 of 11

That was super informative Regina!

Similarly a few months ago my chocolate chip cookies were spreading and let's call it over-crisping when I "thought" I hadn't changed anything.  I threw out my baking soda, I used fresher ingredients. made sure I wasn't overbeating or my butter wasn't too soft.  same damm problem. finally one day i figured it out.  I was using different cookie sheets - the kind with the air layer built in - that's great for a sugar cookie but not for a chocolate chip cookie. As soon as I corrected that it was back to my favorite cookie again.

So MamaGeese I feel your pain and exasperation when you think you are doing everything right !  Thanks for asking the question so I could get enlightened too!

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ReginaCoeliB Posted 5 Dec 2020 , 1:15am
post #7 of 11

Well ladies, I haven't done anything different for what I have received from you. You gave me so many advices, beautiful pictures to look at, wonderful ideas to think of.... not to count the many hours of laugh and chatting we all have shared. It is a pleasure and a honor for my to put my knowledge at your service...Love to help!

Have a blessed weekend... stay safe!


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MamaGeese Posted 9 Dec 2020 , 3:23am
post #8 of 11

Thanks everyone! I won't give up! I do believe all our basic ingredients for scratch baking are inferior these days. Something is just off. I've strived for decades to remove every variable possible so I would have consistent results, but sometimes it's just a crap shoot! Love my fellow "cakers"

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MamaGeese Posted 9 Dec 2020 , 1:47pm
post #9 of 11

Thank you all so much.....❤️❤️❤️

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-K8memphis Posted 9 Dec 2020 , 3:48pm
post #10 of 11

I sure understand your frustration though -- glad to get the update and gladder still to learn that it was just a momentary 'gonna quit' thing -- i thought it was just in the angsty moment -- your clients would be lost without you -- 

for sure baking ain't easy...although there's a lot to be said for retirement -- but I would still be doing it if I could -- anyhow ~

best baking and all the best to you 


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SandraSmiley Posted 9 Dec 2020 , 3:50pm
post #11 of 11

I was thinking almost the same thing Kate said, after reading you last post.  I've been baking since I was five years old, now at 72, I still sometimes think I can't cook worth a hoot!  I guess the occasional less than perfect result is intended to keep us humble, lol.

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